Trump Publicly Admits He Fired Lt. Col. Vindman Because He Testified Against Him
President Donald Trump seemed to admit over the weekend that he fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman in retaliation for the Army officer’s testimony against him in the House impeachment inquiry, according to The Independent.
Vindman, who served on the National Security Council as an expert on Russia and Ukraine, was escorted from the White House on Friday at Trump’s direction, alongside his twin brother Yevgeny, who was an NSC ethics lawyer.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Fake News @cnn & MSDNC keep talking about ‘Lt. Col.’ Vindman as though I should think only how wonderful he was. Actually, I don’t know him, never spoke to him, or met him (I don’t believe!) but, he was very insubordinate, reported contents of my ‘perfect’ calls incorrectly, & was given a horrendous report by his superior, the man he reported to, who publicly stated that Vindman had problems with judgement, adhering to the chain of command and leaking information. In other words, ‘OUT’.”
Previously, the president had suggested that while he was not happy with Vindman, it would fall to someone else to decide whether the Purple Heart recipient remained in the White House, saying: “Well, I’m not happy with him. You think I’m supposed to be happy with him? I’m not. They’ll make that decision.”
Following his ouster, Vindman’s attorney, David Pressman, said in a statement, “There is no question in the mind of any American why this man’s job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House.”
“Lt Col Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honour, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful,” he continued.
Vindman testified last year that he was disturbed by the president’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenksy, during which Trump asked his counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election.
The Independent noted that Trump’s desire to clean house might not be over yet, with The Washington Post reporting that Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community’s inspector general, could be given the boot as well.
Atkinson turned over to Congress the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
Also potentially in Trump’s crosshairs is his chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, despite the fact that he resisted Democrats’ request to testify in the inquiry. Mulvaney appeared to admit that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine’s president when he said during a White House press briefing last year: “I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy.”